Gateways to the Communities Exhibition Opening Events Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6
Free with Garden admission or membership.
An inspirational fusion of horticulture, science, conservation and art revitalizes the California Plant Communities at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
Step off the pavement onto a new trail designed to help you explore the diversity of plant life in California. Brightly painted arbors are your threshold—gateway—to plant community interpretative hubs along the Communities Trail.
Along this new loop path you can learn how each area will evolve so that RSABG may more effectively demonstrate California plant associations while also connecting horticulture, conservation and research.
Fifty-five acres make up the California Plant Communities at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
The California Plant Communities offer visitors a chance to experience the distinct regional association of plants that share growing conditions. But the communities are some of the least publicly appreciated areas in the Garden. Scott LaFleur, director of horticulture, is working to change that.
“I want to make the communities more understandable to visitors,” said LaFleur. “The Gateways to the Communities will help us tell the story of our collections and share information about the connections between botanical research and conservation horticulture.”
The Gateways project is a long-term undertaking and a critical aspect of RSABG master planning that involves reorganization of the California Plant Communities. The communities’ overhaul will help RSABG better convey plant diversity and adaptations within specific geographical boundaries such as the California islands, Baja California and scrub communities.
It will rearrange the communities and gardens to put the right plant in the right place, while preserving accessioned plants that cannot be moved. Following the Master Plan, The Gateways project creates the Communities Trail, a main loop around the California Plant Communities with educational signs and occasional respite with shade, water and plant and communities information.
More than a dozen arbors donated to RSABG will soon become the thresholds—gateways—to each plant community. The brightly colored arbors will be interpretative hubs along the Communities Trail and will offer visitors an opportunity to experience the creativity and ingenuity of the RSABG horticulturists who in addition to caring for the Garden’s beautiful plant collections are creating amazing environmental art in the California Plant Communities.
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.
Relieve stress, boost energy levels, improve health, track progress and enjoy the beautiful scenery of California’s native garden on your own or with the group. Participation is free (Garden admission fees apply); register at the admission kiosk.
"Although I have been visiting the garden for many years, the Saturday walks are the best experiences I've ever had here."
~Ruth Crandall, San Dimas
About the Garden Walking Club
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Walking Club was created to provide members and frequent visitors with the opportunity to participate in a safe, healthy and educational walking experience while enjoying social enrichment, community building, and the wonders of the Garden.
Walking club promotes:
- Physical and mental health
- Enjoyment and appreciation of our natural environment
- Awareness of one's surroundings, as well as ourselves
Walking club is free to join and participate in; register at the admission kiosk. Garden admission fees apply if participants are not RSABG members.
Track your route and distances using the guide and map available at the admission kiosk, as well as trail markers located around the main pathways of the Garden.
The Garden is laid out in three distinct areas:
Indian Hill Mesa Loop Trail: 0.5 mile around
(Or 0.7 mile total roundtrip distance from admission kiosk)
This loop trail highlights Indian Hill Mesa a large flat-topped hill of dense clay soils, heavily planted with mature cultivars and wild species of native plants. Traveling counter-clockwise along the trail you’ll pass the California Cultivar Garden, north mesa restrooms, Walter and Gracie Lantz Outdoor Classroom, California Natives Container Garden, Benjamin Pond and the California Garden Gift Shop and RSABG administration building.
East Alluvial Gardens Trail: 0.9 mile total roundtrip
(or 0.45 mile one direction)
This ‘out and back’ trail travels north from the admission kiosk along the East Alluvial Gardens found at the base of the eastern edge of the Indian Hill Mesa and includes the Desert Garden and the Coastal Dune and California Channel Islands collections. The trail passes the Tongva Village interpretive site and the Majestic Oak before terminating at the Plant Communities Loop Trail.
Plant Communities Loop Trail: 1.0 mile around
(Or 1.7 miles total roundtrip distance from the admission kiosk via the Indian Hill Mesa Loop Trail) (Or 1.9 miles total roundtrip distance from the admission kiosk via the East Alluvial Gardens Trail)
This loop trail is accessible from either the Indian Hill Mesa Loop Trail or the East Alluvial Gardens Trail. The northern 55 acres of the Garden are home to the Plant Communities with displays of some of our most impressive specimens in the entire collection. The large serene grove of Four-needle Pinyon, the spring-blooming California Flannel Bushes and distinctive jmlhua trees are found here.
August 24, 2013, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
- Free Garden admission for school teachers and administrators and their immediate family.
- Explore school tour and program displays.
- Reserve field trips. Spring reservations fill up quick. Bring your calendar to schedule a fun and educational trip for your students.
- Stay an hour or stay all day.
- Great prizes
- Free refreshments
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden offers walking tours and programs that include activity stations to help educate students about the Golden State. Tours and programs convey the importance of native plants, cultures of indigenous people and natural history of California. RSABG tours and programs align with life science and history/social science content standards for California public schools.
Third Sunday of every month, 10 a.m.
See the plant communities of the California coast and Mojave Desert in an hour! The RSABG Guided Tram Tour offers guided exploration of the Garden’s northern 55 acres and highlights the beautiful and amazing diversity of the California Floristic Province.
Tickets are available after 8 a.m., at the admission kiosk the day of the tour. Tickets $5 per person; ticket required in addition to standard Garden admission.